#LoveYourBorderlands, a Photo Essay
by Elizabeth Johnsen, The Opportunity Agenda
Over the past couple years, we have heard a dominant narrative about our border that is harmful, inaccurate, and misleading. Yet what we know from our partners who live in the border regions is that our border communities are vibrant. They are made up of growing families, thriving small businesses, exquisite wildlife, and generations of activists and change makers — communities working together to tell a more accurate and life-affirming story about the land that they call home.
We hope that these photographs, collected and taken by our partners, tell a bigger, more accurate story about our borderlands, and that the talking points help to put forth a positive vision of the border region and what it means to our country. #LoveYourBorderlands
Focus on the people, culture, and history of border communities and stress that those communities suffer when misguided and wasteful policies cause human rights abuses and disrupt communities.
Talk about how current border policies and spending result in violations of our values. We are a country that believes in community, fairness, and human rights. But misguided policies that allocate spending toward drones, walls, the separation of families, and detention facilities do not uphold these values.
Repeating myths isn’t helpful, even when attempting to discredit them. It’s important to pro-mote truthful stories about border communities instead of providing further publicity to false reports about terrorists, drug cartels, the need for a wall, and so on.
Stress that communities need to have a say in decisions that affect them. Underscore that any policy must be responsive to the expressed needs of border residents.
Sample language: “Border communities want safe, efficient, and effective border policies that respect the culture and community of the borderlands.”
Tell a bigger story about the border region that focuses on the people, culture, and history of border communities, that portrays the region as a cultural and economic hub, home to millions who deserve a voice.